Honor System

Scotland Yard

A compelling detective game

For 3 to 6 Players

The Scene

Mr. X, a most-wanted criminal, is on the run in Central London and Scotland Yard’s finest detectives are in hot pursuit. To escape capture, Mr. X must move cleverly and secretly (Mr. X’s whereabouts are revealed only as many as 5 times during the game); to corner Mr. X, the detectives must use ingenuity and cooperation.

One player is Mr. X. All other players are the detectives. Whether one is being chased or doing the chasing, all players travel from location to location by bus, taxi or underground. To take a certain form of transportation, you must be on the correct boarding spot and have the correct fare - no ticket, no ride!

The Challenge

If you’re Mr. X, you must avoid capture long enough for the detectives to run out of their fare tickets. If you’re the detectives, one of you must capture Mr. X by landing on the same space Mr. X occupies.


  • 1 gameboard map of Central London
  • 6 pawns
  • 125 fare tickets
  • 1 label sheet
  • 18 start cards
  • 2 double move cards
  • 1 logbook and pad
  • 1 storage tray to be used to store tickets, start cards and pawns

    The Set-Up

    Peel off the colored dots on the label sheet and apply two of the same color dots to either side of each pawn. One pawn will remain uncolored and unlabeled with no color dots applied.

    SELECT THE FUGITIVE, MR. X - AND THE DETECTIVES: Choose one of the players to be Mr. X. This player is given the uncolored pawn and the logbook. The logbook is where Mr. X secretly records his movements and gives ticket fare clues to his whereabouts. See page 7 for how Mr. X uses the logbook. To assemble the logbook, position the 24-holed cover over the pad. A pencil will be needed to record the route.

    All the other players are the detectives and control the movements of the 5 colored pawns. Depending on how many players in the game, a detective could control as few as 1 or as many as 3 pawns. Distribute the pawns as follows:

    U = uncolored pawn
    P = purple pawn
    B = blue pawn
    R = red pawn
    Y = yellow pawn
    G = green pawn
    Fugitive Mr X Detective #1 Detective #2 Detective #3 Detective #4 Detective #5
    6 Players U P R G Y B
    5 Players U P & Y R G B
    4 Players U P & Y R & G B
    3 Players U P & Y & B R & G


    DETECTIVES’ TICKET SUPPLY: Punch out the 120 regular fare tickets (yellow = taxi, green = bus, red = underground) and give each detective the following for every pawn he or she is controlling:
       10 TAXI
        8 BUS

    A detective’s ticket supply is limited. Once a ride is taken and a fare is paid, that ticket is "spent." There is no way for a detective to replenish these used tickets.

    IMPORTANT: as a detective, you receive a limited supply for each pawn you are controlling. If you are moving more than 1 pawn, you must keep the allotted tickets for each pawn separate! Use the colored Royal Detective Bureau tokens (punch them out,of the cardboard platform) as markers to properly color code each pawn’s ticket supply. Just place the appropriate markers near the piles to remind you which ticket supplies belong to which color pawn!

    FUGITIVE MR. X’S TICKET SUPPLY: Give the 10 remaining regular fare tickets (4 taxi, 3 bus, 3 underground) to Mr. X. This is Mr. X’s starting supply only. During the game, Mr. X’s supply increases, for as detectives spend tickets they hand them over to Mr. X. Mr. X, then, has an unlimited ticket supply, and as a result is always free to use whichever form of transportation he wishes.

    Punch out the 5 special black fare tickets and give them to Mr. X.

    Punch out the two 2x (double move) tickets and give them to Mr. X.


    Punch out the 18 start cards (tokens with numbers), place them facedown in the playing area and mix them up. Every player draws one card for each pawn he or she is controlling. The remaining cards are put aside facedown. The numbers determine starting positions for all the pawns.

    Open up the gameboard and look for your starting position. The detectives place their pawns on their directed numbered locations on the board; Mr. X does not. Mr. X’s location must be kept a secret from the detectives, so the uncolored pawn does not get positioned on the board. HINT FOR MR. X: be sneaky when examining your starting location on the board and let your eyes roam all over the board. For example, if your starting card said #198 and you stare at the lower right quadrant of the board near the Oval Cricket Ground you could give your location away with a look!

    The Play

    HOW TO MOVE - A LOOK AT THE GAMEBOARD: all players move from one numbered location to another either by yellow taxi routes, green bus routes or red underground routes. Each trip must be paid for with the appropriate ticket. Notice that the transportation routes are all color-coded to their proper tickets.

    The numbered locations are stations or stops for one or more of the routes. Each location is colored -coded to tell you what transportation service you can use to move to such a spot or to move from such a spot. Take a look at stop #153, near Buckingham Palace on the gameboard for an example of a stop with three transportation services.

    Scotland Yard Fig 1

    This green signal says you can move to or from here by bus.

    This red signal says you can move to or from here by underground.

    This yellow signal says you can move to or from here by taxi.

    NOTE: all numbered locations are yellow signals, so you can always move to and from such spots by taxi (if you have the matching yellow ticket); two-stop locations (yellow and green signals) allow you to move to and from them by taxi or bus; three-stop locations (as #153) above, are the rarest and allow you to move to and from them by taxi, bus or underground.


    On your turn, follow these 3 rules whether you’re Mr. X or you’re a detective. Mr. X has some additional special moves which are discussed on pages 8-9.

  • You can only move on the colored route and to the next numbered location on the route that matches the ticket you paid. The routes are: solid yellow line for taxi; solid green line for bus; and broken red line for underground. Here’s an example of how to move by underground. Take a look at the left side of the board, location #74, above Kensington Gardens. From this spot you could take an underground journey by broken red line to the next underground stop, which is location #46 - you could not get off at any other location before #46 or any location after #46 on your turn after you paid the one red underground ticket. From location #74, you could also take a taxi ride to any of these locations... #92, #73, #58 or #75. Location #74 is also a bus stop. A bus ride from this point could take you to location #94 or #58. As you can see, numbered locations with three different colored signals allow you to take three different modes of transportation!

  • No player can refuse to move and remain in the same location. On your turn you must move the pawn or pawns you are controlling.

  • You can never move to an already occupied numbered location. There never can be two or more pawns on the same spot - and, of course, if Mr. X moved onto an occupied location or a detective moved onto a location occupied by Mr. X, the game would be over! There are no other restrictions to movement. You can doubleback on your next turn to a location you just occupied. . . or you can pass over each other’s pawns on the same route to a location (this applies only on bus routes and underground routes, not on taxi routes).


    FOR THE DETECTIVES: Play always moves from left to right around the board with Mr. X playing first. As a detective, if you are controlling more than one pawn, move all of your pawns before play passes to the left. Here is how to make a move, if you’re a detective:

  • Pay your fare ticket to Mr X.

  • Move your pawn.

  • Repeat the above sequence for each pawn you’re controlling.

    Tabletalk is encouraged with your detective pals. Talk over the best move for each of you before any of your pawns are transported. Cooperation will help tighten the dragnet!

    As a detective, your ticket supply diminishes as you play and it is possible that you could be stranded at a location without any tickets at all or without the particular fare you need to move from and to another location. If this happens, your pawn is out of the game but remains on the gameboard. . .on its stranded location!

    FOR MR. X: All detectives’ moves are made openly on the board; Mr. X’s moves are made secretly. . . not on the gameboard, but in a logbook. Here’s how to move, if you’re Mr. X:

  • Secretly write the location you want to move to in the window of the logbook.

  • Cover the window of this entry you just made with the ticket you need for such a move. IMPORTANT: the logbook tickets are clues to the detectives as to what form of transportation Mr.X used for his getaway

    Scotland Yard Fig 2

  • Your turn is over. Repeat the above sequence for each of your moves.

    MR. X’S FIRST MOVE: Mr. X’s starting location is not entered into the logbook. Rather, Mr. X’s first move from the starting location to another numbered location is the first entry in the logbook and is recorded in window number 1. All subsequent moves are recorded in order, one move per window!

    IMPORTANT: Mr. X’s logbook with the ticket clues must always be visible to the detectives; and the detectives’ ticket supplies should always be visible to Mr. X (so Mr. X can determine what forms of transportation the detectives are limited to).


    SURFACING: As Mr. X, you are forced to reveal your location on the board with your uncolored pawn at regular intervals (as many as 5 times during the game). The first time you "surface" and show yourself is after your 3rd move and then after moves 8, 13, 18, and 24 (this would be your last move of the game). Oval windows on the logbook remind you of these must-surface locations. Here’s how to surface:

  • Secretly write the location number you move to in the oval window of the logbook just as you would make a regular location entry.

  • Cover the window with the appropriate ticket you used for such a move.

  • Place your uncolored pawn on the board on top of the location number you just entered into the logbook. The pawn remains there until you move again. On your next move, you’re invisible again and move secretly, so your pawn is removed from the board!

    DOUBLE MOVES: as Mr. X, you can move to two different numbered locations all in the same move by using a special 2x double move card. Your double moves are limited - you only have two 2x cards, so use them wisely.

    The double move is a quick-escape feature that allows you to move to one transportation spot and then on to another. Both locations are secretly entered into your logbook in separate windows and each entry is covered by its appropriate ticket. You can combine taxi, bus or underground rides on a double move, if you wish. If forced to surface on a double move, be sure to reveal yourself on the proper move. . . either the 1st part of your move or the 2nd part of your move, whichever one is entered in the oval window. HINT: double moves are great "cover-your-tracks" features, so if you can avoid using them when you have to surface, the more elusive you’ll become!

    After you make a double move, put your 2x card out of play.

    BLACK TICKETS: black tickets are great camouflage tools. As Mr. X, you only have 5 of them, so make good use of them. Here are the two ways you can use the black tickets:

  • Use them in place of any other regular fare ticket to camouflage the form of transportation you used to make a move. For example, instead of covering the window of your logbook with a taxi, bus or underground ticket, just cover the window with a black ticket and the detectives will have no idea what mode of transportation you took. Black tickets can also be used to cover one or more of the logbook entries on a double move!

  • TRAVELING BY BOAT: Mr. X is the only player that can travel up and down the Thames by boat. To do this, Mr. X must move from and to specific riverfront locations and must use a black ticket to take the voyage. As Mr. X, use one black ticket to travel downriver along the solid black line in the river from #194 to #157; or from #157 to #115; or from #115 to #118. Or vice versa to travel upriver.

    The End of the Game

    The game is over if any of the following occur:

  • if any detective moves onto a numbered location that Mr. X occupies, Mr. X is captured and the game is over. Mr. X reveals his location by showing everyone the last-entered location in the logbook. Mr. X has lost the game and the Scotland Yard detective team is the winner!

  • if none of the detectives can move because they have run of fare tickets, then Mr. X wins the game and the detectives lose the game! This can only happen after every detective makes his or her 22nd move and Mr. X is still not caught!

  • if none of the detectives can move because they run out of a particular kind of ticket, then Mr. X wins the game and the detectives lose the game. This is a remote situation but it is possible that all the detectives could be left with only bus or underground tickets and be stranded on locations that do not use such tickets!

  • after the game is over, if there are any questions about Mr. X’s movements, the logbook entries can be checked location by location!

    Strategy Hints

  • At the beginning of the game, before Mr. X surfaces for the first time, the detectives should position themselves near underground stations, so they can move quickly from one end of the board to another.

  • Surfacing is a crucial move for both Mr. X and the detectives. Mr. X should try to maneuver to a location where it would be difficult for any of the detectives to reach him in the next round of play when Mr. X must surface. Such a transportation spot should offer a variety of modes of transportation, too!

  • Mr. X must study the gameboard carefully. At first glance, there are a number of locations which seem to offer transportationt facilities that in reality are not available there. There are also a number of underground stations which enable the detectives to move in close without warning.

    More Challenges - Advanced Play

    A few changes to the basic rules can make Scotland Yard extra challenging especially if Mr. X is an experienced player. Here are the variations:

  • In addition to the 5 times that Mr. X must reveal himself, Mr. X can voluntarily surface at other times in the game. In return for revealing his location, Mr. X takes one ticket of his choice from each of the detectives’ ticket piles - a clever way to wear away at their ticket supplies and restrict their movement!

  • Play with a cut-off rule for Mr. X only. Mr. X cannot pass over another pawn on his route to reach the next numbered location. For example, if Mr. X was on #153 near Victoria Station, the fugitive could not travel by underground to station #140 near the Westminster Bridge if a detective was sitting on location #154 - such a detective is "cutting" Mr. X off! Detectives, however, do not have to obey the cut-off rule and can pass over other pawns on their routes if they are traveling by bus or underground.

    1985 by Milton Bradley Co. under Berne & Universal Copyright conventions.